Doctors recommend against Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients fasting (not eating or drinking or both for a period of time) due to negative health outcomes. Did you know that Chronic Kidney Disease is the ninth (9th) leading cause of death, according to the American Kidney Fund? They further emphasized that 31 million people in the United States (10% of the adult population) alone suffer with Chronic Kidney Disease. Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should think again when committing to fasting holidays such as Ramadan, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, as well as trendy diets which encourage drastically reducing food intake or not eating to lose weight.
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Dr. Hassan al-Malki (Nephrology and Transplant at Hamad Medical Corporation) has advised, "Chronic Kidney Disease patients have different stages of Nephropathy and patients diagnosed with Stage Three (3) Chronic Kidney Disease or higher are advised not to fast." According to Dr. al-Malki, fasting makes Chronic Kidney Disease patients susceptible to further Kidney Damage, health complications and if taken to the extreme even death. For instance, Dialysis patients cannot fast under any conditions due to the fact that they require Intravenous (IV) fluid intake during their treatments. Thus, if they were to attempt to fast and skip their treatments the effects could be catastrophic and fatal. What's more, if a Kidney Transplant patient were to stop eating and drinking, s/he would be unable to take their prescribed medication dosages at the mandatory times which would likely compromise the survival of their Kidney Transplant. Wouldn't that be terrible?
Dietitian, Ayman Alawneh, further cautioned that Chronic Kidney Disease patients should not skip meals to avoid body weakness, dehydration, and bear in mind that they typically need more calories than individuals in good health. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, " In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting."
Even Physicians are questioning whether patients should stop eating several hours before surgery which is a common practice throughout the world. Dr. David Rowe (Australian Anesthetist) directly challenged the current guidelines for people fasting before morning surgery, reported ABC News. He stated, "The standard 6 hours for solids and 2 hours for certain types of clear fluids in most people's practice end up, by accident, running up to 12, 13, 14 hours with no calories going in."
While debate about the logic of fasting before surgical procedures is still being conducted, in general Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should avoid restricting their recommended intake of solids and fluids. If a Chronic Kidney Disease patient still chooses to fast then they are strongly encouraged to discuss the option with their Dietitians and Nephrologists. Also, if a patient decides to fast then they are also encouraged to maintain their regular Dialysis Treatments and continue to take all medication dosages at their given times.
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